Dockery and Son

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January 2002

Nomination: Dockery and Son [28 March 1963. From The Whitsun Weddings]

‘Dockery and Son’ succeeds in surprising and delighting us because (and although) it is a such a typical Larkin poem: the themes of youth and age, involvement and isolation, then and now are all characteristic and powerful – and so are the grand but wistful tone, the rising conclusion, the formal dexterity. If I had to choose one Larkin poem to show what he was like at his best, this would be it.

Andrew Motion

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